Today we remember the Buddha’s enlightenment underneath the Bodhi tree: as the morning star rose, he realised perfect dharma. With one hand he reached down and touched the Earth, a gesture I take to be of gratitude, of recognition of support, of dependence.
He set out to look deeply into suffering, and to find an end to suffering. He was inspired both by the suffering he found in the world, and also by the grace he had seen and experienced, that grace that was embodied by the sadhu who was ‘the fourth sight’, and by his own experiences in meditation.
On the night of his enlightenment, the arrows which Mara sent to the Buddha, transformed into flowers: hate became love. The Buddha awoke and embodied loving kindness, compassion, insight, energy and steadiness in the face of life’s troubles. He saw what usually provokes anger, or hate, or greed, and felt love instead.
He fell into the noble life, and suffering fell away.
Most Buddhists aspire to walk the noble path in the way the Buddha walked it: to learn to embody what he embodied, and for their own suffering to fall away.
As Pureland Buddhists our emphasis is in seeing that we are received by this vision. That if we had come into the company of Shakyamuni Buddha, he would have loved us in the way he loved the world. And that the spirit of all the Buddhas, manifesting as Amida Buddha, sees us and loves us in that way today.
We are of samsara, and we are received by the vision of the Buddha, and carried into nirvana.
Namo Amida Bu